Interview, New Book

Meet Daniel Williamson

Meeting new authors is always top on my list of fun things to do. And as a parent, it’s rare I meet children’s authors. Today, I’d like to introduce Daniel Williamson, who has created a line of educational picture books to teach kids new languages in a fun and new way.

Daniel Williamson was born in London and earned a scholarship to attend Bembridge Private School on the Isle of Wight, largely due to his advanced English writing skills. During his teenage years, he articulated in theater, band, and choir. After attending Nottingham Trent University, he began traveling the globe to such locations as The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, and Christ the Redeemer.

After the birth of his daughter Carmela, his passion for writing was re-ignited, and after a brief spell script writing he turned his attention to children’s stories due to the inspiration he gained from his mother Jacqueline’s Montessori nursery and his own volunteer work at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

His current titles include the Look at me I’m learning series, which focuses on teaching young children the basics of a new language through colourful picture books. Currently languages include French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish and Brazilian Portuguese with many more language books and rhyming picture books already under development for 2020 and beyond.

  • What inspired you to write children’s language books?

I had already written a few rhyming picture books when a friend pointed out to me that she couldn’t find one decent picture book to help her cousin teach their son Italian. At this point I had a light bulb moment. I did some research and found this was true for all languages pretty much. There were bilingual books out there but they mostly looked like boring text books and not endearing to young children. I decided if I could make a series that started with the basics of language in a colourful and playful way this would be a great gateway for any parent wishing to introduce their child to a new language.

  • Are you fluent in any languages?

Languages were always my favourite subjects at school where I studied French, German and Spanish for a combination of 15 years. I’ve been learning Brazilian Portuguese for the last 2 years. Would say I’m more conversational than fluent in all 4 which is why I used professional translators for my books.

  • Do you have any other languages you’d like to cover?

The series currently has 6 languages covered with 4 more arriving within the next 6 weeks. What I love about this series is that the possibilities are endless and if there is demand for new languages I aim to fulfil it. I have a great model in that the story and artwork template are complete donee languages just need to be translated professionally and then it’s effectively cut and paste. I also believe 100% that there is potential for the whole series to be back-translated and go global and so I am looking for the right literary agent or publisher to help me achieve that.

  • What age group are your books best suited for?

The subtitle reads ‘A story for ages 2-8’ but I’ve heard of children as young as 1 and as old as 10 enjoying the books. Even some adults have bought them in order to teach themselves the basics!

  • What were your favorite children’s books growing up?

I think everybody has that one picture book as their go to growing up. Mine was Not now Bernard by David McKee. An absolute classic which is still held in high regard today. After that it was Roald Dahl all the way, I couldn’t get enough of his creative characters, funny words and simply beautiful stories. Even 30 years later I think he is still influencing me in my writing as whenever I have a quirky moment I smirk and think about him.

  • What are your dreams for your book series?

I want this book series to help as many parents as possible to enjoy introducing their mother (or father) tongue to their children. Learning a language should be fun and so I’m hoping to bridge the gap with the colourful artwork. As mentioned I want this series to grow and grow and reach every corner of the globe. To have the series back translated and receive messages from people in every continent telling me how much the children enjoy them. Growing this global ‘family’ of readers will also give me the opportunity to share my other stories with the world and hopefully spread a lot of happiness along the way.

  • Will you always stay within the children’s books or do you have plans for any YA or adult novels?

I believe I will stay within picture books and YA. First I wish to expand my language series, then I have 3 more picture books written that just need the artwork finished. I’m also currently in the planning phases of a YA fantasy series with a talented artist with some fantastic and original ideas so looking forward to pushing my boundaries.

To order any of Daniel Williamson’s langue books for kids, you can shop now HERE.

To keep up to date on all of Daniel Williamson’s work and be alerted when he releases new work, visit him on any of his platforms.

  • Visit his website HERE
  • Visit his Facebook HERE
  • Visit his Twitter HERE
  • Visit his Instagram HERE
book review, New Book, Product Review, review

What Are Your Kids Reading?

I love to write, I love to read, and I love introducing my daughter to new and classic books. Instilling an inquisitive mind and the ability to enter the worlds these books create has always been important to me. So I thought it might be fun to chat about what’s on my three-year-old’s reading list.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…I could read this book in my sleep. As a kid, I loved the Madeline books and had my mom bring home a Madeline hat when she visited Paris. It’s easy to read, has some cute rhymes, and has a splash of French. As far as the morals and stories, they’re relatable in any decade. There’s the misunderstood neighbor who just wants to be included, a dog who needs a home, and a group of girls who believe in the power of friendship.

Stormy Night by Salina Yoon

This one is new to me, but by a kid’s author who has quite a few cute stories and the matching stuffed toys. In Stormy Night, a little bear is scared of the storm, but his parents help him realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Perfect for the light sleepers in your house.

Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer

Hello, childhood, is that you calling? I’m not sure about you readers, but I had dozens of these Little Critter books, growing up. Out of all the kids books, this little…porcupine? hedgehog? beaver?…creature had the most relatable storylines and family of al the classic families. Little Critter was a bit of a brat, but always learned an important lesson, unlike a certain pox on society named Caillou. I have about fifty of these books from my youth all ready to go for story time.

Dinnertime for Chickies by Jane Trasler

The chickies in this book, and the rest of the series, are a trio of baby chicks being raised on a farm with Cow, Pig, and Sheep. Each story tackles a new topic that little kids can understand. In this, the chickies don’t want to eat their healthy dinner, but their farm animal caregivers tell them they at least need to try a bite. It’s a healthy way to promote a more varied diet, without the “finish what’s on your plate” narrative. Other topics in the collection include going to bed and getting a new little sibling. The art and rhymes are adorable, and the author is constantly making YouTube videos featuring the books in musical, puppet form.

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Deisen

This book is a best seller, and deservedly so, as far as kids books go. There’s a little drama queen fish that just drags all his aquatic fish down with his bad attitude. Through the series, he learns something new about the importance of a positive attitude and trying hard, even when things are difficult. And it’s pretty funny to watch your kid try to mimic the longer words in the rhymes.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

This book didn’t make my list because of its innovative storyline or because I have some old-school attachment to it. I like Dr. Seuss books for kids because the simplicity of the writing and the repetition makes it perfect for new readers. Really, all of the classic Dr. Seuss works should be in every little kid’s bookshelf. But none of the new age ones with the modern art. Stick to the oldies like There’s a Wocket in my Pocket.

Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton

Is your kid obsessed with their birthday? Mine is. Time is still just a vague idea to her, so she’s always asking when her next birthday is. Birthday Monsters is a cute and short board book that’s great for early readers. There’s some repetitive rhyming and simple drawings that make the book easy for young kids to master.

Ollie’s Halloween by Olivier Dunrea

I love the goslings in Dunrea’s books. The tiny geese go on all sorts of different adventures and learn about holidays, friendship, sharing, and all the rest of those child-friendly themes. While this particular book is about Halloween, it’s easy to find one featuring just about anything. The words and phrases are simple and the illustrations match the storyline perfectly, which can help your child to better identity words as they learn to read. I know it’s no longer Halloween, but according to my daughter, this book’s the best of the bunch.

So, there are my top kids books and series for now. As my daughter continues to learn, I’ll continue to update with more lists for the little readers in your life. Parents, let me know, what are your kids into?